Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Neither Confirm Nor Deny

"The White House does not confirm or deny unsubstantiated claims based on illegal leaks from anonymous individuals," said a White House spokesperson who declined to be named.
1) So, the WH statement is, itself, anonymous - and not to be believed?

2) "Neither confirm nor deny" is known as the Glomar response (see Wikipedia) -- aka a non-denial denial -- - and it turned out that the denial was demonstratively false. Or, as the NZ Government concluded when the US Navy refused to "confirm or deny" whether nuclear weapons were on board ships planning to make port visits - yep, there's nukes.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Word of the Day

Capricious.
: changing often and quickly; especially : often changing suddenly in mood or behavior
: not logical or reasonable : based on an idea, desire, etc., that is not possible to predict
(from Merriam-Webster)

The Anomaly of Employer-Paid Health Insurance

Ever wonder why health insurance in the US is provided through employers, which is NOT the norm in countries with health coverage? (pace Miss USA)
1939—Revenue Act of 1939 (Sec. 104), establishes employee tax exclusion for compensation for injuries, sickness, or both received under workers' compensation, accident, or health insurance.
"The link between employment and private health insurance was strengthened during World War II when in 1943 the War Labor Board ruled that controls over wages and prices imposed by the 1942 Stabilization Act did not apply to fringe benefits such as health insurance. In response to this ruling, many employers used insurance benefits to attract and retain scarce labor."

Two-term Presidents

To date, no incumbent President who has sought renomination to the office has been denied his party's endorsement. (Some, most recently Bush the elder, didn't get re-elected in November.)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

New Rule : Put Up or Shut Up

djt's aides keep telling us that he's gone to one of his golfclubs for "meetings and phone calls." djt leaves after 4 1/2 hours (an average golf game lasts four hours - and he needs time to change), after being espied wearing golf togs (shoes, glove, gold slacks, polo shirt).   then we are NOT told who djt "met" with, or "called", let alone who he played with. Meanwhile the press is tucked away in a corner of the club.

New rule: the press is allowed to place 18 photographers, no audio recording equipment, at the golf club while djt is having "meetings and phone calls": one at each hole. (If the course is larger, say 27 holes, the photo pool gets larger.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Partisanship

It is expected that if the ACHA passes, it will do so with solely GOP votes, just as the ACA passed with just Dem votes. It wasn't always this way.

In late 1940 FDR had just won an unprecedented (and now unrepeatable) third term as President, with 55% of the popular vote and 85% of the Electoral vote. FDR proposed that the US should be the "Arsenal of Democracy," supplying the sole major country still in the fight (Great Britain and her Empire and Dominions) with the means to fight. He then proposed "Lend-Lease," to allow the increasingly destitute British to acquire weapons, ammunition, and materiel even without the means to pay.

The House voted on the bill in February:

                                      Aye               Nay
Democrats                    238                25

GOP                                24              135

The Senate voted in March:

Democrats                      49                 13

GOP                                10                 17

Apparently, back then, it was thought the representatives of the people, not the party leadership, should decide on important issues.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Excusing the inexcusable

The intelligence community has concluded that Putin ordered Russian hackers to influence the 2016 US Presidential election. At least seven members of the djt campaign, some at very senior levels then and now, met with Russian officials and attempted to hide those meetings, even while under oath.

The hacking, the dissemination of the stolen material, and possible collusion with a hostile foreign power in either the hacking or the dissemination raises serious questions about whether Moscow has gained undue influence over the US Executive. But many in the GOP and elsewhere, even on the left, wish to sweep it all under a rug.

The excuses offered that I have heard include:


1. "Well, doesn't the US do that to other countries? This is just payback."
2. "There's nothing illegal about seeking to influence voters."
3. "It's just another conspiracy theory/spy novel."
4. "I'm not the puppet, you're the puppet." (projection)
5. "This is more hyper-partisanship."
6. "The 'Deep State' just doesn't like ... (fill in the blank - Flynn, Putin, Russia, djt)."
7. "It'll all blow over. The real problem is the GOP is ... (another fill in the blank).
8. "If we investigate Republicans we can't attend to our agenda." 
9. "But Hillary! But DNC! But Bernie!" also "But Obama!" (deflection)
10. "The Government's collection of information showing the action, especially of links to Americans, was itself illegal, and that's the problem."
11. "It was a routine meeting(s), nothing to see here.”
12. “What he really meant to say was ...”